Friday, February 19, 2010

And It Begins

-- Chuck Finder of the Post Gazette reports that "With three off days scattered among the opening 12 games of the season, Pirates management is considering the possibility of using just four starting pitchers until late April.

'Maybe we do carry an extra bench player early,' Neal Huntington suggested. For the time being, the Pirates aim to head north with a roster of 12 pitchers and 13 position players."

Wonder what Daniel McCutchen and Kevin Hart think of that? The advantage is that the pair each pick up a start or two at Indy - both have options - and come out of the gate running; the drawback is burning up player moves so early in the year.

-- Even though the full squad isn't due until Tuesday, all but seven players are in camp now. The handful that haven't arrived yet are Andrew McCutchen, Lastings Milledge, Ronny Cedeno, Delwyn Young, Jonathan Van Every, Gorkys Hernandez and Argenis Diaz, according to Jen Langosch of

-- She also noted that Neil Walker caught Zach Duke's side session at the start of camp, and took some balls at second yesterday. Every little bit of versatility helps when you're a bubble player.

-- Jeff Clement continues to get a crash course in the art of picking a ball at first. Carlos Garcia now knows how Perry Hill felt when he took Delwyn Young under his wing last season.

-- Jean Machi, minor-league reliever who was held back from pitching after his physical, was cleared for action and threw a side session today.

-- You think it's easy to put up a statue? Not so, says Jeremy Boren of the Tribune Review. The Sports & Exhibition Authority's board of directors had to approve the proposed Maz statue by PNC park; they're the owners of the field. Next, the city's Art Commission has to review and OK the piece.

The Pirates are paying $450,000 to build the statute on Mazeroski Way. Sculptor Susan Wagner will do the honors; she's already created the Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell statues. Construction should begin in June and be finished by September 5th, Maz's birthday.

-- The Nationals have won their arbitration case with LHP Sean Burnett, who will make $775,000 in 2010 instead of the $925,000 he sought, according to Bill Ladson of "It was interesting," Burnett told Ladson. "I learned a lesson. I don't want to deal with it again."

Last season, Burnett went a combined 2-3 with a 3.12 ERA for the Pirates and Nationals.

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